Sail-powered and sail-assisted commercial vessels are a little like the fusion power of the maritime world: always just a few years away. Various plans for sail-equipped merchant ships have been floated over the years, including at least one using kite power, but not much has happened to actually get these designs built and out on the water. Commercial shipping is a significant producer of greenhouse gases and sail assisted ships could conceivably cut CO2 emissions by the industry. Now a German company has gotten Lloyd's Register to sign on to its Quadriga sail assisted car carrier design.
The latest design comes from the Hamburg-based Sailing Cargo company. The 170-meter vessel, which will be able to reportedly carry as many as 2,000 cars, has been dubbed Quadriga and is designed with four masts and 5,000 square meters of sail area that can be automatically deployed and furled from the bridge. According to Sailing Cargo, the rig can be set i as little as seven minutes.
If Sailing Cargo and technical services company Lloyd's Register can get this design built and make it work, voyagers may see working sailing ships again on the world's oceans.